How to Get Rid of Drain Flies

Is there anything more pestering than discovering unwanted visitors in your home? Fruit flies, gnats, and fleas will sure bug (pun intended) you seemingly every moment they hang around, and the same goes for the lesser known but common drain flies.

They might only measure a teeny one-eighth of an inch, but drain flies like to gather around standing water like in showers and other spots. Also known as moth flies, sewer flies, or filter flies, you can identify them based on their gray or taupe color and small, rounded wings. Despite what their name implies, though, they don’t “fly” but rather hop from surface to surface. They won’t go away quickly on their own either since they can live for up to three weeks with new eggs hatching as quickly as every 48 hours.

So how do you get rid of them quickly and permanently? We have the solutions you need for natural DIY home solutions with ingredients like vinegar or store-bought products, plus more helpful information like whether drain flies are harmful.

How do you get rid of drain flies?

The good news is most drain fly issues can be fixed within about a week with regular cleaning and careful attention. Here are five ways to do so:

  1. Start with cleaning your sink and drain with your usual cleaning solution. Use a pipe brush to scrub around and inside the drain.
  2. A super simple fix is to pour boiling water down the drain to eliminate drain flies. Boil a medium-size pot of water once or twice per week, and pour down and around the drain.
  3. Another easy option uses baking soda: Combine 1/2 cup salt with 1/2 cup baking soda and 1 cup of vinegar, and pour down the drain. Leave overnight, and finish by pouring boiling water down the drain in the morning.
  4. If you need a heavier-duty way to get rid of drain flies, try a store-bought drain cleaner like Drano or Bio-Clean. These chemical unclogging solutions will clear out the drain and pipes and help eliminate any materials or debris that may be creating a breeding ground for drain flies, thus preventing new eggs from hatching.
  5. If you’re still seeing adult drain flies around, create an apple cider vinegar trap using a small dish covered in plastic wrap. Poking holes in the plastic wrap will lure flies in but prevents their escape.

What causes drain flies?

Drain flies love moisture—stagnant, shallow water—and organic debris, and are most likely to be found near sources of food or bacteria, like sinks and showers. They often favor areas that are not used frequently, like a basement or workshop sink, and are also spotted after a long time away from home, like a vacation. They can even pop up in a relatively clean area.

How do you know if you have drain flies?

If you spot one or two, try this overnight test: Place pieces of tape (sticky side down) over the drain in question. As they try to escape, they will become trapped on the tape, and you’ll have a good indication of just how many flies you’re dealing with.

Are drain flies harmful?

Nope! They don’t bite humans or transmit human disease, but they are a sign that your kitchen could use a deep clean, especially if you want to prevent more insects like roaches from joining the party.

Fight drain flies with these kitchen cabinet staples:

Bio-clean Drain and Septic Tanks Cleaner

Bio Clean Bio-clean Drain and Septic Tanks Cleaner

Mrs. Meyer´s Clean Day Dish Soap

Mrs. Meyer’s Mrs. Meyer´s Clean Day Dish Soap

Nylon Pipe Cleaning Brushes

eBoot Nylon Pipe Cleaning Brushes

XIONLAB Safer Drain Opener

Xion Lab XIONLAB Safer Drain Opener


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Amy Mitchell is the managing editor at Country Living Magazine. She writes about a wide range of topics, including homes and lifestyle content.

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